Rise in Deadly Crashes Involving Pedestrians Seen in Georgia

So far this year, 111 pedestrians have been killed on state roads – an increase of 16 percent from this time last year, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

In 2017, 260 pedestrians were struck and killed in the state.

Transportation experts are trying to pinpoint what’s fueling the increase and come up with solutions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Two studies released this spring indicate that pedestrian crash deaths continue to climb nationwide.

Georgia reflects the same trend.

In 2017, 260 pedestrians were killed on state roads, up from 232 in 2016. The 260 deaths last year was double the number killed in 2011.

Fulton and DeKalb counties lead the state for the most fatal wrecks involving pedestrians, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.

Nationwide, pedestrian crash deaths have increased 46 percent since their low point in 2009 and account for 16 percent of crash fatalities, according to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The institute, a nonprofit organization focused on research and education to reduce deaths and injuries from crashes, published a study in May on pedestrian deaths. It identified some common factors in the accidents: Fatal pedestrian accidents happen most often in urban or suburban areas, are outside of intersections, and are on arterial roads – busy roads designed mainly to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways.

Crashes were increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles, the study found, and are more likely to occur in the dark.

“Understanding where, when and how these additional pedestrian crashes are happening can point the way to solutions,” said Insurance Institute President David Harkey. “This analysis tells us that improvements in road design, vehicle design and lighting and speed limit enforcement all have a role to play in addressing the issue.”

Other pedestrian crashes have been blamed on a pedestrian mistake, such as not using a crosswalk when one is available.

Hit-and-run deaths are also on the rise, experts say.

In a study published in April, roadside-assistance company AAA found that injury crashes are often more serious because the drivers responsible fail to stop and offer aid, which is required by law in Georgia.

In 2016, Georgia ranked fourth in the U.S. for most fatal hit-and-run crashes, the study found. Hit-and-run crashes killed a record-high 2,049 people in the U.S. in 2016, including 72 in Georgia, according to AAA.